You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth restating: The first step to a happy, healthy relationship is a happy, healthy you. Before you can find your best relationship, you need to be your best you.
You don’t need to be perfect – remember, no one is perfect – but you should strive to the best of your ability to be the very best “you” possible. Find out what your personal best is, and live that life – for yourself and for your next relationship.
And here’s why: If you skip this step, you may end up with the wrong guy. You might end up with the guy who saves you, the guy who helps you become something better – but not the guy who complements your personal best. Maybe, if you’re lucky, those two guys are the same person. The vast majority of the time, they are not. Don’t be fooled: Perhaps a man can temporarily help you accept yourself, but it’s unlikely that a man can help you permanently accept yourself.
By all means, you should search for someone who clicks with you and your individual traits and characteristics. (For example, you should seek out someone who expresses love in the ways you hear/interpret it; that is, if you love praise, he loves to compliment you; if you love token gifts of appreciation, he loves to give them; and vice versa, of course). To become your personal best is not to become perfect, and you should still seek out someone with whom you are uniquely compatible.
However, the list of traits you want to find in a partner is presumably long enough. Ultimately, it’s better not to add “someone who knows how to help me accept myself” to that list. You are capable of doing that work on your own.
Here’s a telling question: Would you want to be in a relationship with yourself? If the answer is YES, then you’ve finished your first assignment. If the answer is NO, then here is your first assignment: Be the person you love and find attractive. Or, to take a different approach: Love the person you already are. Until that answer is YES, you’re sending out the wrong energy into the world. Spend some time thinking about why you wouldn’t want to date yourself. Be honest. You know yourself better than anyone else.
But wait – if answering “no” is the product of a confidence or self-esteem issue, perhaps you need to focus on confidence and self-esteem building exercises.
It’s time to become your best you. As English novelist George Eliot* once said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
How can you become the best version of yourself? Becoming the best version of yourself comes down to finding happiness as an individual.
Unhappiness is a catch-22. If you’re unhappy alone, potential suitors are less likely to be drawn to you. Happiness, on the other hand, is like having your cake and eating it, too: The happier you are, the more confidence and positive energy you exude. The more confidence and positive energy you exude, the more attractive you are to prospective men.
Three first steps toward becoming your best you –
1. HEALTH: Lead a fit and active life.
Men are attracted to healthy women. If you’re not eating healthy and exercising, start now – for yourself and your next relationship.
You like healthy men, don’t you? Be a healthy woman. When you’re sharing your life with someone, your health not only affects you, it affects your partner.
The benefits of a healthy lifestyle – physical, mental, emotional – are too great to list here. But rest assured, they will extend to your relationship. People who exercise are happier. Happier people are more enjoyable to be around. Many women find that when they look and feel great, they are friendlier, more outgoing, and more confident.
The first step to your best “you” is making healthy choices. And these choices are not limited to physical health. Your mental and emotional health count, too. So pick up a book. Spend time with friends. Keep a journal. Be healthy. Be happy.
P.S. When it comes to diet and exercise, we support the Wellness & Equality model, which you can read more about here. Stop counting calories, start reading ingredients, and nourish your body and mind with natural, healthy meals.
2. HOBBIES: Be passionate about something besides finding a man.
Find hobbies. What gives you pleasure? If the answer is love/dating/relationships/men, then you have some soul-searching to do. Change that answer pronto, honey.
Are you interested in volunteering? Find a local charitable organization to become involved with. Are you athletic? Join a league. Do you like to read? Start a book club. Do you like cooking? Invite friends over for a weekly dinner when you try out new recipes.
Don’t judge yourself – anything goes. To be interesting, you must simply be interested in the world. Look around you. What excites you? Make it part of your life.
3. SELF-LOVE: Practice self-love every single day.
Do you ever say negative things about yourself to yourself? As women, we often say more awful things about ourselves than we do about anyone else. Stop with the negative talk! You are beautiful, inside and out. You are seeking a loving relationship because you are a loving, lovely person, so start with yourself. At SMITTEN & SMART, we’re big fans of Gala Darling’s Radical Self-Love Project. So take a deep breath, stand up straight (what your mother said about good posture is true!), and go for a walk outdoors — the beautiful world out there is waiting for you!
*For the record, George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Anne Evans – a woman who was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era.